What’s more frustrating that not being able to find the right measuring spoon right away? You give up, and either eyeball half of the one twice as big, or use one too small and have to dump it in and refill in multiple times. You won’t have that problem with a digital scale. We’ve purchased the attractive and useful Soehnle Digital Scale; it has the sleek, minimalist European design that will make you want to leave it out on the counter …
… and unlike measuring cups and spoons, it never needs to be washed clean of whatever you put in it.
More importantly, digital is just easier and more accurate than mid-twentieth century analog. Put the bowl on the scale, press the tare button to zero it out, and spoon 220.00 grams of brown sugar out of the box. Just like that, you now have a cup of “tightly packed” brown sugar – no worries about how “tight” or “packed” you got it to be. Now here’s the best part. Next is three cups of sugar. Zero button again, and pour 384.00 grams into the bowl from the bag. You have exactly four cups of your batter, and you haven’t used the measuring cup once. No removing of any grains of brown sugar required in between. The measuring cup, and spoons aren’t needed at all anymore.
Once you have one, you can get all OCD about everything in the kitchen. Making cookies or pancakes with that exact amount of batter you mixed? Make each cookie and each pancake exactly the same size (by removing the same amount of batter from the bowl, by weight, each time). Get your family to guess which one’s the biggest (good luck with that when they are all identical). In fact, using the scale is, in itself, a fairly OCD way to cook, since measurement by weight is much more precise than by volume — and, indeed, the way the rest of the world measures ingredients is by weight. This precision is especially important to baking, where every milligram of each ingredient can alter the chemical interaction among ingredients and, thereby, change the cooking time and texture of your baked goods.
Key to success with any cooking scale is the conversion of your favorite recipes for easy reference. The first time you try a recipe using the scale, note the volume-to-weight equivalents on the recipe; then, the next time you make the same recipe, you can add the ingredients by weight automatically without using a single measuring implement. Another hint (and Max deserves the credit for this one): if your digital scale, like the Soehnle, has both metric and U.S. customary units, converting your volume measure to the metric equivalent is much easier, and requires much less math, than will U.S. customary units that require another equation when the ounces you’ve added to your recipe convert to pounds (so you can finally thank your elementary school math teacher for forcing you to learn the metric system).
Oh, and the Soehnle scale goes up to 9.5 pounds, so you can also weigh packages for shipping (and very young babies) …
Available from Amazon for under $23.